A Diaper Free Life?!

Dare I say it?  After 4.5 years of dealing with diapers, I think we are about to approach a diaper free life!  With having our kids so close together we were never able to experience a period in between children where the one/s we already had were potty trained before the next one came along.  I am going to preface this post with saying I am not fond of politically correct speach and I think that we over beat that dead horse.  I have no taste for the “potty learning” etc type talk.  Anyhow I digress, so onto what I really want to talk about.

I think I have been lucky with my kids and teaching them about going to the potty instead of in diapers.  Everybody told me that boys are impossible to potty train, they take forever, they have no interest etc etc.  I was determined not to go through this with Monkey, there was no way I was having a 3 year old running around in diapers.  When I was pregant with Monkey I seriously considered cloth diapers, I really wanted to.  My aunt sat me down and told me I was crazy, she explained all the double rinsing etc and how it would be just too much work.  Instead of researching, I just bought into what she said and took the lazy way out.  At that time I didn’t have any friends using cloth diapers and so I had no one else to ask.  So we went with disposable, but encouraged a lot of diaper free time.  Right from being a few days old we would just let him lie on his mat and play without a diaper on, we had this mat that was rubber on one side and terry towel with cars on it on the other and would place his toys around him.  He loved it, if he made it wet we would switch out the mat or blanket.  As he got older we was allowed play time during the day with no diaper, either totally naked or with pants/underwear on.  At around 15 months old he started to show an interest in the potty, at first we bought him one of those typical kiddie potty seats, he didn’t like it.  Then we bought him the seat that just goes onto the regular toilet, he loved that.  So we didnt’ push him, but we encouraged him to go.  By 19 months he did not wear diapers at home except during overnight, not even for nap time did we put one on him.  At 20 months we went to India for 3 weeks and we had a bit of a set back.  It was hard he would tell us he had to go, but other than on the side of a crowded road or into a public toilet with inches of water all over the floor and nothing but a hole in the ground there was no where.  During those 3 weeks he still did pretty good, would use the toilet when we weren’t out and travelling but not so much if we were busy.  During those 3 weeks he was not able to do a single poo on the toilet because I just couldn’t figure out how to hold him over the hole and quite frankly even just trying scared him…anyway maybe it was because of feeling uncomfortable with these toilets myself I place my misgivings on him.  So we came home from India and within a week he was back to being able to go out without a diaper and using the potty regular.  By 22 months he didnt’ wear a diaper ever, except for over nights, by 25 montsy the overnight diaper was gone.  I was shocked when I went to register him for school and the principal asked me if he was potty trained, I feel bad for parents who wait so long. 

When Teddy came along we actually bit the bullet and looked into a cloth diaper service.  When we worked out the numbers it was almost twice what we spent on disposibles for Monkey, so we went with the bottom line…the cheaper solution.  Also I had an issue with him being in diapers that were being worn by other babies, how did we really know how well the service would sanitize them etc.  I know the bottom line should have been the environment and preserving it for our kids, but the realistic bottome line ended up being dollars and cents.  Teddy was a bit harder, in fact there was  a brief time where I wondered if he would be hard like I had heard boys were.  At about 16 months he started showing a lot of interest in the potty.  I was so busy, I was still helping Monkey out with his potty times, helping with pants etc having to run and turn on the light for him, get the potty seat etc.  I also had another newborn who was nursing and so I didnt’ always have the freedom to take him when he said he wanted to go.  Anyway we tried, if my husband was home he could take him etc and when he showed interest we tried but I can’t say that we encouraged him too much initially.  After awhile he lost interest…or I guess you could say we lost our window.  Around the time he was 20 months I started thinking, my god we haven’t trained him yet, what are we doing.  So I got down to business, took the diapers away during the day, pulled out the underwear and training pants etc.  However he continually refused to bend for us.  He would pee in the corner, in his pants, on the floor, he just didn’t seem to care about where he went.  He would always come get a towel and go clean up his mess, ask for clean pants, but never say he had to go first.  Finally around 26 months he seemed to be better and we were on a roll.  Then we went to India and Thailand.  We brought only enough diapers for the plane ride and the overnights, and the minute the plane landed the boy refused to do anything except use a diaper.  When we got home it took a good month to get him back to going on the potty.  Still by the time he was 28 months he was completely day and night trained…whew!  I always feel bad like sometimes we rip him off of time he should get with us because of being the middle child.  I also think that sometimes we let him get away with things he shouldn’t because we have this guilt for him. 

So now we come to the Princess, only 18 months old.  In some ways I feel like she is still a baby.  I look at her and she is so small compared to her brothers, and I still want her to be a baby.  When she grows up that is it, no more sweet babies for me to cuddle.   With the Princess I didn’t even consider cloth, just went right to the disposable.  When she was about 6 months old, I got brave and tried an experiment with cloth diapers, it lasted 3 weeks with me washing them myself at home, since I had already determined a diaper service was a no go.  I loved the cloth diapers, then I got behind in laundry and I realized had I have been into it from day one with Monkey I would be used to the routine and it would be ok, but at this point in my life with 3 little ones and a host of other things on the go I just didnt’ have the time for all the washing, so we stuck with the old way.   I would say for the last month she has been showing an intense interest in the potty.  Before that she would say something on occasion, we would put her on, we didn’t focus on it too much.  In the last month she has actually started ripping off her diaper, putting the seat on the toilet herself and going to the potty.  We let this go on for a month, then decided we can’t hold her back the way we did with Teddy, no matter how busy we are etc we learned a lesson that when they show the slightest interest is the time to jump.  So I went out and bought her cute girly underwear because I didn’t want to put in her in brothers old ones and we got down to business.  Right now she is only wearing diapers when we got out and for nap/bedtime.  She has been doing great!  I am so excited, I see and end to diapers…I even got a few steps ahead and tossed out the diaper pail last week.  It has been 2 weeks since she has woken in the morning with a wet diaper.  She has beeing going potty right before bed and waking at 5 am asking to go.  Now I am in that tough stage where I don’t want to risk taking her out without a diaper because she does still have a few accidents at home.  I am also at that tough stage where she has learned that saying she has to pee or poo poo means we jump up and take her no matter what we are doing.  Already I noticed at bedtime last night she was using it as an excuse to keep getting up and not have to go to sleep.  So now I struggle between encouraging the behaviour and stopping her when I think she is just playing.  Anyway the main thing is she is well on the road to being trained and we are well on the road to a house that doesn’t have diapers!  In the last 6 months we have only bought diapers once, I don’t even think that we will use all of the supply we have left in the basement! That is probably more exciting for me than it should be.  The best is we don’t have any long vacations planned for the foreseeable future, so hopefull by the time we go somewhere she will be well into her potty routine and we won’t have any set backs the way we did with the boys.  My secret goal to myself has been for us to have her trained by Teddy’s third birthday, so we have about a month left to go, let’s see if we make the goal!

She Really Couldn’t Hear!

So about 3 weeks ago Princess had tubes put in her ears.  I was leary of her getting them.  We actually got a second opinion and still delayed the tubes by a few months, then after we made the decision to get them done and had a surgery booked the surgeon cancelled and we were delayed another two months.

I was worried for a few reasons, first of all I thought why let her have surgery if it is not 100% needed.  I was worried by the general anesthetic, that is hard on adults nevermind a tiny little toddler.  I was put off by the doctor when I brought up this concern and he brushed me off saying that preemies are put under GA…well in my mind there is a big difference between a preemie in need of life saving surgery and my daughter who could possibly benefit from tubes, but not getting them wasn’t a danger to her life.

When we finally decided to get tubes in her ears, they finally explained to us that she continually had fluid in her ears.  Which to give background had been a problem from birth, she failed her first 3 hearing tests and when we had to have a specialized test we were told that she could hear fine and there was no problem with that but that she had had fluid in her ears since birth, hence the reason why she was failing the tests.  Ok, but she could hear, she gets woken by her brothers being noisy, yells phone phone when the phone rings and door door when someone knocks on the door, so I knew she could hear.  To be honest after sitting with her at the last hearing test I could tell she was reacting to the noises and I figured the doctor was leading us on a bit.  However despite my misgivings, I guess you could call it possible guilt, when they told us that she had this continual fluid build up and assured us that while she can hear now, she was not hearing as she should be and that eventually if this continued the constant fluid in her ears would cause deafness.  So I had to be reasonable.  Did I like the idea of her having tubes, no not one bit, did I want to be responsible for her going deaf knowing there was something I could have done to precent it…no…did I know that reasonably the doctor was playing on my fears, yes I did, but I still wasn’t willing to take the risk.  Also the biggest deciding factor for me was simple, I had tubes in my own ears as a young girl.  I remember the horrific pain of the constant ear infections.  I remember nights of being rushed to hospital due to the pain, I remember sitting up crying, I remember that for me it all stopped once the tubes were in.  So for about the 5th or 6th time in 4 monts my husband and I discussed it and this time, with the threat of future deafness ringing in our ears, we decided to agree to tubes being put in her ears.

So we went through with the surgery.  We were told only 1 parent was allowed in recovery, so I took her by myself for the surgery.  What was the point of my husband coming for him to have to wait in a separate area anyway.  I was so nervous, but I am a firm believer in not losing it in front of my kids, so I held strong for her.  Since she had a 12 hr fast before the surgery, I did the same thing not thinking it was fair to eat or drink in front of her since she wasn’t allowed.  The surgery was incredibly fast, less than 5 mins.  The doctor told me not even to move from my chair and it was true he was literally back that fast.  Then it was 15 mins before they came to get me, when he had told me as soon as she woke up I could go in to her.  I was starting to panic.  When I went into recovery, she was still sleeping, they were having trouble waking her.  My heart started beating so fast, panic about to sit in.  They let me try and wake her for a few more minutes and then the nurse realized they hadn’t removed the stickers from her for the monitors, so she ripped those off and boy oh boy did Princess ever wake up quickly….phew my heart now went back to normal pace, even though the entire time the nurses had kept assuring me they weren’t worried because they knew she was fine she was reacting, but just too tired to wake.  I should probably add here that I had to wake her up 2 hrs early to get to the hospital in time and that by the time the surgery was completed we were right at her normal nap time anyway, so she probably was genuinely tired.  Luckily it was smooth sailing after that, she was running around the recovery room and asking the nurse for popsicles, so we knew she was good.

That afternoon we came home, kicked out daddy, Monkey and Teddy and the two of us slept all afternoon…relieved of the stress!  And I let her sleep on my tummy the whole time too, it was heavenly. 

After what seemed like 2 weeks of crankiness she began returning to her normal self, with one big difference.  I noticed noise really started to bother her in a way that it hadn’t before.  For example if  the TV is too loud downstairs, she can’t sleep, if we are in a noisy restaurant she is sticking her fingers in her ears and complaining of loud loud.  Then I kept thinking I must be imagining these things.  I noticed one other thing, her vocabulary, which was already huge for her age completed exploded, she is singing songs and now talking in complete sentences for everything.  I literally have conversations with her and not the one to two word normal repsonses from an 18 month old, but full proper sentences…wow.

So today we went for her follow up appointment.  Her hearing has improved vastly, had I not witnessed it myself I may have thought the doctor was pulling my leg.  This time in the hearing booth not only did she slightly react to a noise, without being told she turned looked and pointed at the noise saying noise noise!  WOW!  So my poor baby really was having some difficulty hearing.  I am still glad that I questioned the doctor, that I made an informed decision, but now I am also glad that I finally let them go ahead and do the surgery, now my baby can hear!  Lets’ hope the infections and pain stop now too.

A Night Without Kids!

It is very rare for my husband and myself to get a night without kids.  There are a few reasons for it, we actually like doing stuff with our kids and will often decline to do things if they are not able to come, as well it is hard to get someone willing to watch 3 kids as young as ours.  Since my MIL babysits while we are at work, we really hate asking her to watch them outside of that time frame.  The only other person who ever babysits for us is my grandmother and I hate asking her to watch all 3 at once unless it is only for a couple of hours…and entire evening out is a different thing all together.

Well this past week we actually had TWO nights out without the kids!  The first was on Tuesday to attend a Bon Jovi concert.  We had great seats and an equally great time.  It was nice to be out just the two of us and enjoy each other.  We made it to the concert late as being on a week night had even with finishing work early it was hard to make it on time.  So we waited to have dinner until after the show.  That was great too, since we had the show to talk about, rather than spending the entire dinner talking about the kids as we usually do when we go out for dinner…not that we dont’ have other stuff to talk about, but I sure most parents know how it is.

Then Saturday we actually had the entire day AND night without the kids!  We were invited to a friend’s daughter’s wedding.  It was a nice, simple but elegant wedding, not overly fussy, not too many people and really good food!  So it was a great day/night for us.  Since it was out of town, but not far enough to warrant getting a hotel and really that would have meant over night babysitting, which is even harder to ask for.  We spent the hours between the ceremony and reception at a friends house.  It was GREAT being in somebody’s house and not having to chase kids around, feel nervous about what they are touching etc.  I was actually able to just sit and chat for a few hours, which is generally unheard of for me.

It was also nice at the reception to sit and eat without a drink getting spilled at the table, someone crawling in my lap, worry about kids making a mess etc.  I am not sure if the food tasted so good because it was actually great food, or if it tasted so good because I was actually able to just sit, eat and enjoy!

I spent a good part of the night looking at a mother there with a small baby and thinking it is so nice to not be her for once!  So nice to relax and enjoy not be out in the hall by myself rocking a baby or chasing 2 wild boys!

At the end of the night we both agreed that while we had missed the kids we also enjoyed being at a wedding without them and being able to just fully take part in the day.  I concluded that even though our kids are young and it is important to us to spend as much time with them as possible, we also need to do this on occasion too, just enjoy being adults for once.

House Guests

As of last night we have house guests ( I started this post last Friday, so we have actually now had the guests for a week).  Relatives of my husband.  I have no idea how long they are staying because in their culture that is something you dont’ ask, people stay as long as they feel like and it is up to them when to leave.  They have approval to be in Canada for a few months.  I hope to god they are not staying this long(They are staying that long, I found out part way through this week).

Anyway they have arrived.   This means as long as they are here our diet will be largely changed, there will be a constant stream of visitors in the house to see the guests and there will be 9 people living in our house for the foreseeable future.

So here is my list about reasons why I hate house guests and why I think houseguests should never stay in one place longer than 2-3 days

1) You can’t walk around in your pjs when you have houseguests

2) Have you ever tried to keep a house clean that is lodging 9 people…it means cleaning the bathrooms must be a DAILY routine

3) My real first name is not Cinderella

4) Kids require routine and too much disruption kills the routine

5) I love the sound of SILENCE, this will be non existant in my house for the foreseeable future

6) Behaviour, everyone can behave for a few days, not get angry upset etc, but long term imagine getting annoyed with your husband but having to keep it bottled up so as not to tell him off in front of guests

7) discipline, it is impossible with guests around everyone parents differently and nobody understands why people do things the way they do with their kids, I now get to have my parenting continually judged for the next little while

8) Food, you should only be expected to cook for guests for a few days beyond that it is too hard to please everyone and try and keep a balanced diet.

9) I can’t handle eating roti on a daily basis

10) Dynamics, the household dynamics change with guests, no guest should stay so long that the new household dynamic begins to become the norm

11) They don’t leave the house, apparently they have sights they want to see in Canada but so far all they have seen is our house and the backyard.

12) The TV is now on 24/7 as that is my FILs means of entertainment for guests

13) They don’t eat meat, I am fine with that, but the other night I was tired and brought home Swiss Chalet for dinner.  I then looked rude for not taking the guests into consideration…I don’t know any vegetarian take out that my kids would have enjoyed eating.

14) We now don’t have a free weekend until October…OCTOBER! AHHH

15) I like to bath the kids and get them to bed before cleaning the kitchen…I now have to clean the kitchene after dinner every night with 3 helpers!

Kids: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

As a mom of 3 the most common thing I think about, talk about, dream about is my kids.  They are truly great kids.  Don’t get mew wrong there are days when I question if having 3 was really a sane choice!  I miss my uninterrupted sleep, I miss having to be up by noon on a Saturday and needing to set the alarm to make sure that happened.  I miss thinking 5 am was an hour only insane people woke at, and not thinking 5:30 woo hoo good night sleep had!

I love that on a daily basis they make me laugh.  Sometimes they make me laugh so much it is amazing.  I love that they love so unconditionally and even after getting in trouble/having a toy taken away they always will say “I’m sorry mama and I love you mama”  I find that heartwarming.  I love when they smile brightly because they are happy or when they give you that melt your heart smile because they want something.

So this week my youngest son, my little Teddy has been making me laugh and grossing me out and showing me that he is the sweetest most kind heart ever.  First of all he is so caring towards his brother and sister.  Last week he had a special me day with his grandma and requested that his brother be allowed to come with him!  If his brother or sister want a toy he has he always gives it up even if he really doesn’t want to.

So the ugly?  Well the ugly is Teddy now has a new found fascination…eating boogies!  Yep picks his nose and transfers it to his mouth.  Yesterday he actually had one stuck in his teeth after trying to eat it and I had to dig it out.  Those kind of moments are definitely the ugly moments of parenting. 

The bad for me is those trying moments, where I am tired and they have boundless energy.  This morning a bad moment was Teddy was up early enough to see Monkey and I leaving for camp and work.  He was heartbroken he wanted to come so badly.  He didn’t cry or throw a temper tantrum, but just sat there looking totally sad and dejected, my heart was aching for him.

camp

Today Monkey is attending camp for the first time.  Last summer he went to the summer play grp run by our city for 3 weeks, it was daily but only for 2 hrs per day.  In the fall he is starting kindergarten so I wanted to ease him in a bit by signing him up for a week or two of full day camp.  At his age it is hard to find camps that will take them, but I did find one and it is right across the street from my work so very convienient as well.

In the week leading up to camp I have been making him dress himself, put on his own shoes etc.  I usually help him with these tasks, but last year at summer play grp they went swimming one day and because monkey didn’t know to change himself he was left in his wet swimsuit.  I withdrew him from camp that day.  I was so angry.  I had requested to be a parent volunteer on that trip and was told they already had too many so I wasn’t needed.  If I wasn’t needed they why were a bunch of 3 year olds allowed to come home on a bus in wet bathingsuits?  And if the camp leaders/other parent volunteers weren’t allowed to help the kids change then I think we should have been told beforehand because I for one would not have allowed Monkey to go on the trip if I had known.  Anyhow to avoid a repeat of last year, I forced Monkey last week to learn to dress himself without help.  When he asked for help I would talk him through whatever part he was stuck on, but not actually do it for him.

Last night I warned him to go to sleep early.  Put him in his room at 7:30.  At 8:30 went to check on him and found him still not sleeping.  So I went in, turned out all lights told him to close his eyes and stayed until he was sleeping a few minutes later.  This morning I had a hard time waking him up.  I actually dressed him in his sleep because I figured that once I started dressing him he would wake up…no such luck.  He slept entirely through getting dressed and I still couldnt’ wake him.  Eventually I picked him up and carried him downstairs sleeping, where he finally woke up.  Poor kid was so tired, I forced him to brush his teeth the minute he opened his eyes, I felt really bad.  The thing was we had to leave before his brother and sister woke up because imagine how upset they would have been to see him leaving for work with me but them not able to come.

I bought him a bagel and chocolate milk from Tim Horton’s this morning for breakfast to make up for the fact that I rushed him out of the house without time to really wake up and gagging on toothpaste being the first taste of the day in his mouth.  He was happy to come into my office, eat his bagel, drink his chocolate milk and phone Daddy from my desk using my wireless headset.

I am worried I didn’t pack enough food for him.  His backpack is laden down with sunscreen, a hat, a towel, a bathingsuit, change of clothes and lunch.  For lunch I packed him a Klean Kanteen of water, a juice box, blueberries, an apple, 2 cheese sticks, crackers, meat, a granola bar and a yogurt.  Is that too much food?  I have no idea, for an entire day it seem like nowhere near enough food.  I was going to add some broccoli and carrots, but decided I didn’t want to put too much in and overwhelm him.  The problem is he is not a sandwich kid and I have always felt like it is the bread that fills you, so I was worried that meat, cheese and crackers was not enough and that he needed enough side items to top it up and make him full.  I will judge by the amount of food in his backpack tonight if I need to pack more or less tomorrow!

So we arrive at the museum a few minutes early and he is so excited because they are all set up for an upcoming exhibit on the Titanic.  My 4 year old is probably the only 4 year in history who is completely obessessed with the Titanic.  He can tell you that Bob Ballard is the man who found the Titanic and that he found it using footprints (the shoes of the victims).  He knows that it was sunk by hitting an iceburg on the starboard side (yes he actually used that exact wording).  He was explaining to me about the bow of the ship and the anker and about how the ship did not have enough lifeboats and vests for the number of passengers on board.  He was so excited by the model ship he wanted the Titanic exhibit to be on today…we may have to become members when that exhibit is on he will want to go so often.  His favourite bedtime story is a book written by Bob Ballard on finding the Titanic!  He has such an interesting brain and is so fascinated by things that I don’t find other kids his age to have any interest in, I can’t wait to see what he grows into and which career path he chooses.  I am guessing he will be some kind of engineer, but it will be interesting to see what he does become.

So he is now happily at camp and I sit nervously at my desk awaiting a phone call that something has gone wrong and I need to go pick him up.

Toddler Talk

So now that all the drama is over for the moment…ok for today because tomorrow we have house guests arrivign that were supposed to come for SIL’s wedding but didn’t get their visitor visa approved until after the wedding due to the ever lovely G20 Summit.  Anyhow they got the visa now so decided, hey why not just go to Canada for THREE MONTHS, we will see how that goes.

So in avoidance of all the drama I want to write today about my daughters development.  I have done this for the boys on my privte blog that I post for family, outling what the kids are up to etc but in the last few months I have been lazy on that blog because my in-laws have been in Canada and I mostly do it so that when they are out of the country they don’t miss important stuff abou thte kids.

So the Princess is now 17, almost 18 months old.  I can’t believe she has grown so fast.  She is at a really amazing stage in her development where she is talking up a literal storm.  Ifind it amazing the things she can say.  The Monkey at 2 was only saying a few words and not stringing more than one word togehter, after 2 he came on quickly but honestly I was worrying.  I even talked to the doctor about it who assured my that sometimes kids learning to be bilingual from birth are slower in talking, but that they make up for it once they start…this did work out true for him.  He has an amazing vocabulary for a 4 year old and is the most fluent of all three kids in both languages.  Teddy started with single words around 10 months and two words together around 16 months, by 18 months he was a good communicator. 

Princess started with her first words probably around 7 months, the usual mama, dada, her brothers names (which I found surprising because they are not easy to say).  By about 13 months she was stringing 3 words together at a time.  Now she talks constantly, I never have to guess with her, most things come out in sentences or toddler talk sentences anyway.  “I go there”, “I get it” etc…

What I find hillarious though is how even though they are words and they are proper words sometimes they are still a little mixed up.  She says “apen” for open, “momorrow” for tomorrow although now that I have written that I can’t think of anothe.  The reason for this post though is last night she was vehelmently trying to tell me about something and I could not figure out the word.  What I heard her saying was Yardarnagans, at for a few mins I kept saying Princess I don’t know what you are talking about.  Then it hit me, is she trying to say Backyardigans?  So I said are you talking about Backyardigans.  “NO yardanagans”  and she is frantically pointing into the family room.  I still remain stumped on this one.  Sometimes it will hit me after a few mins or if I can figure out what they are pointing at, but this time  I am totally stumped.

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